The Truth About Cholesterol

DrWarrenBy Dr. Ramona Warren

These days, we are inundated with messages about “good” and “bad” cholesterol.  We’ve been warned that high cholesterol causes atherosclerosis (clogging or hardening of the arteries).  We’re told to reduce dietary fat in order to keep our overall cholesterol levels under 200 and avoid heart disease.  Those who can’t lower cholesterol through diet alone are usually put on statin drugs.

But is cholesterol really Public Enemy #1?  Is it the true cause of heart disease?   The facts may surprise you.

Cholesterol is an essential fat manufactured by the liver. It is a basic building block of every cell – especially for hormones and the nervous system. Our brains are 70% cholesterol and cholesterol can be found in every cell membrane.

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7 Tips for Managing Alzheimer’s Costs

Today one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Yet Alzheimer’s — which can last anywhere from two years to two decades — is rarely at the center of most discussions on retirement finances.

How can you help a stricken loved one cope financially with this chronic and often long-term disease? Here are seven tips that can help ease the process.

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Improving Communication Between Seniors and Doctors

improving-communicationToday’s seniors belong to a generation that tends to view doctors as authority figures who are not to be questioned. That mindset keeps many seniors from having the conversations they need to have with their healthcare providers.

During a recent webinar on patient/doctor communication, Dr. Amy D’Aprix, Executive Director of the DAI Foundation, shared the following story:

“My father was referred to a urologist because he was having trouble urinating. I spoke with him right after the appointment and he said to me, ‘Well, I feel good. The doctor assured me it isn’t prostate cancer.’ And I said, ‘Oh Dad that’s great! Well, what did the doctor say about the problem you’re having urinating?’ And his response to me was ‘Not much.’ And I asked him, ‘Well did you mention it to the doctor?’ And he said, ‘No, I figured if it was important, he would have brought it up.’”
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Eight Things You Need to Know about Long-Term Care

By Harold Lustig

Many of us don’t think about long-term care (LTC) until elderly parents need it or we come face-to-face with our own medical crisis. Myths about long-term care are legion, including “My spouse will take care of me” or “I’m too young to think about it.” Here are eight things you need to know.

LTC costs more in some parts of the country than others. The median cost of long-term care in New York State, for example, was $116,000 per year for a private room and $73,000 for a semi-private room in 2010, but only $52,000 a year in Louisiana. Would you send your loved one to a less expensive area? Not if you want them to live longer. People whose family, friends, and relatives visit them in a long-term care facility live longer and maintain better health than those who have no visitors.

Women are more likely to end up in a nursing home than men. Here’s why: Two out of 3 people 85 and older are women. Women over 65 are more likely to be living alone. Women are more likely than men to get Alzheimer’s disease, and they are more likely to suffer a debilitating stroke. And to make matters worse, many elderly women have no Social Security benefits.

LTC isn’t only for the elderly. The need for LTC can arise at any age. In fact, more than 40 percent of people who need it are under 65. Michael J. Fox was only 30 when he noticed a twitch in his finger that was later diagnosed as Parkinson’s. Christopher Reeve was 43 when he had his tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic.

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Hospital Charges Soar for Common Ailments

Charges for some of the most common inpatient procedures surged at hospitals across the country in 2012 from a year earlier, some at more than four times the national rate of inflation, according to data released by Medicare officials Monday.

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How to Heal Properly: Allowing Muscles to Rest and Recover is Essential

Rest and recovery may be just as important as staying physically active. No matter which type of exercise you take part in, from running to strength training and everything in between, muscle cells break down during the process and become stronger when given time to rest and recover. Without this essential recovery time, muscles become fatigued and don’t have the time to heal and grow.

That soreness you feel following intense exercise is due to damaged muscle cells, but with sufficient rest, broken-down muscles will heal and ultimately strengthen. Without rest, your body will be in an imbalanced state of rest and recovery, known as RRI. If this persists for too long, it can cause fatigue and irritability, interrupt sleep patterns and appetite, and increase the risk of infections.

To prevent RRI, stop it before it becomes a bigger problem, and consider these methods for properly healing your muscles:

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Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease Continues to Rise as Boomers Age

The Alzheimer’s Association just released its latest report, “2014 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures.” This special supplement in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia paints a stark picture about what lies ahead for many older adults. More than 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s and related dementia; 200,000 are suffering from early onset (under age 65). However, the vast majority are senior citizens. One in nine people aged 65 years and older has Alzheimer’s, about 11 percent of the population. By 2050, it’s estimated there will be nearly one million new cases diagnosed annually.

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Having a Relationship With Someone in Recovery

By Karen Nagy

The disease of addiction affects not just the addict, but also their friends, family members and partners, who may eventually exhibit their own, reactive behaviors as they cope with their loved one’s disease.  If the addict goes into a recovery program, they begin to learn how to manage their addictive behaviors in their sobriety.  It is also important for those in relationship with people in recovery to be aware of addictive behaviors that still may occur with their partner, as certain of these behaviors can be hard on a relationship.

Not having had prior knowledge of the above, I (a non-addict) dated two different men who were in recovery programs, and wondered why it sometimes felt like I’d entered an alternate universe. My second boyfriend in recovery threw me for a loop—some of his behavior was maddening and confusing to me.  For instance, he seemed to have no concept of time, and would arrive late, early, or not at all for a date.  I eventually came to realize that this behavior was related to addiction, but I didn’t know how or why.  I am a native of western PA (Hempfield Township) and was quite sheltered from the world of addiction in my youth and young adulthood.  After many years living in south Florida, I still didn’t know much about addiction, or recovery.
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Introducing “The Dr. Jameelah Gater MD Show”

St Mary’s Good Samaritan Capital Campaign

By Dene Channell

The St Mary’s Good Samaritan Capital Campaign has raised approximately $6.7 million from over 700 donors and with two months to go we are 84% of the way to our goal of $8 million.  When St. Mary’s decided to build a state-of-the-art hospital in Greene County, the estimated cost was $50 million.  St. Mary’s  committed $42 million towards the project and asked the Greene County community for $8 million in philanthropic support to help fully equip and furnish the state-of-the-art critical access hospital.

When successful in raising an additional $1.3 million dollars through the Capital Campaign, St. Mary’s will be able to offer a number of services rarely found outside metropolitan areas, including nuclear medicine capabilities, an operating room for minor procedures, and a third operating room for major surgeries.  These are three important enhancements that will complete the equipping of our new hospital, provide an expanded range of health care services, and help us attract top quality medical professionals to our area.

I have visited a number of friends in the new hospital who were from Greensboro, Greshamville, Siloam, and White Plains.  People from all areas of Greene County and the lake region are using the new hospital, evidenced by the fact that the emergency room is averaging over 1,000 visits per month, about a 30% increase in activity.   Given the large increase in activity, the hospital has taken the necessary steps to ensure service levels are met or exceeded on a consistent basis.  Suffice it to say, our community has quickly embraced our new hospital and it is exciting to see the high level of activity taking place.
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Compared to Mammograms, Expert Sees Lack of Awareness to Screen for Lung Cancer

A screening recommended last summer to detect early stage lung cancers in chronic smokers has not gained the awareness level it merits, given that lung cancer is America’s most deadly cancer.* That was the assessment from Dr. Corey J. Langer, professor of medicine, Abrahamson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, who took part in a panel discussion on non-small cell lung cancer convened by The American Journal of Managed Care.

(For the full discussion, click here.)

Breast cancer has the pink ribbon and a monthlong campaign every October to get women screened. Colonoscopies experienced the “Katie Couric effect,” an upsurge attributed to the popular former host of the Today Show, who had an onscreen exam after losing her husband, 42-year-old lawyer Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998.

But according to Langer, screenings for lung cancer, which each year kills more Americans than colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined, did not see a similar surge last summer when it was recommended for the roster of tests for which insurance must pay under the Affordable Care Act. On December 31, 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finalized its recommendation for annual lung cancer screenings with low-dose computed tomography in adults ages 55 to 80 years who have smoked 30 “pack years.” A pack-year means the person has smoked at least a pack a day for a year; a person who smoked two packs a day for 15 years would have 30 pack-years.
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The Integrative Doc, Dr. Jameelah Gater, Launches FitFor14 Health & Wellness Campaign

Dr.Gater copyLake Oconee Urgent & Specialty Care Center’s very own, Dr. Gater, has a passion to help others live their best life. Spring boarding off this premise, Dr. Gater has launched her FitFor14 health and wellness campaign to help others stay on tract with those New Year’s resolutions. The goal of the campaign is to inspire, motivate, and educate people to help them reach their health and wellness goals. As an Integrative Medicine and Family Physician, Dr. Gater has a wealth of experience working with patients to help them lose weight, reduce medications, and lead healthier lives through both traditional and evidence based alternative therapies. “Making small, sustainable changes is the key. If it feels like a second job or a huge sacrifice then it’s not likely a change that will stick,” says Dr. Gater

Last year, Dr. Gater conducted an 8-week “Biggest Loser” program with the local community. It was a huge success with all attendees making lifestyle changes and many reaching their weight loss goals.  Dr. Gater was extremely pleased with the results saying, “Our ‘Biggest Loser’ lost 28 pounds during the 8 week challenge and I am proud to say, she has kept the weight off!”

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Living Longer isn’t at Top of all Agendas

William Douglas, 66, didn’t exactly make the proverbial leap for joy when he heard that humans might, in the not-too-distant future, be able to live productively and in good health until at least age 120.

Like most Americans polled recently by the Pew Research Center, the Greensburg resident was skeptical. Fifty-six percent say they would not want medical treatments that would allow them to live dramatically longer lives, Pew found, while 51 percent believe such life spans would be bad for society, draining natural resources, straining the economy and impacting the environment, employment opportunities and housing availability.

About 70 percent of Americans say they would ideally like to live to between 79 and 100.

Read more at the Tribune-Review.

3 Ways to Fight Colds and Flu with Immune-Boosting Juice

MurrayPhotoBy Michael T. Murray ND

According to the latest CDC Influenza Surveillance Report, flu is widespread in 25 states so far this season. As for the common cold, the CDC estimates that more a than 1 billion of us will suffer from it in 2014.

Raw fruit and vegetable juices are great immune system fortifiers, especially during an active infection with a cold or flu. This time of year, it’s critical to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and bolster the immune system with freshly made juices rich in vitamins, minerals, and important phytochemicals such as flavonoids, which are known to be powerful antiviral agents.

Here are three recipes to make in a juicer. Drink these when you feel a cold or flu coming on.
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A Grandparent’s Role in the Next Generation’s Eating Habits

By Jorj Morgan

As a grandmother of 3 who has written nutrition and lifestyle enhancement cookbooks, both my food and my research has lead me to believe that, yes, we do have an investment in the next generation’s overall health and well-being. Children learn from their elders’ example what to eat, how to cook and model their hobbies after their parents and caretakers. Research suggests that there are 11 million grandparents active in their grandchildren’s lives today; and many of them look after these youngsters while the parents work.

Certain changes in our society make the kind of leadership I’m suggesting tough—like packing school lunches based on school guidelines that may or may not outlaw peanut butter. You could say, when the going gets tough, the tough buy lunch tickets, which creates a new parental quandary: are my kids being served healthy food? A recent episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution glaringly discussed the food elementary school children in Huntington, West Virginia were fed for breakfast and lunch 180 days a year. Some of the choices included scrambled eggs (made with a dried egg product, not eggs) and cheese (not real cheese) pizza for breakfast, chicken nuggets for lunch, two servings of bread per meal, chocolate, strawberry flavored and colored milk, no vegetables – basically only beige foods allowed; as a further example of an unhealthy lifestyle, when Jamie entered a first grade class and held up fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflower and beets, the children couldn’t identify any of the fresh foods.

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